Tag:Detroit Tigers
Posted on: February 17, 2011 6:50 pm
 

McLouth comeback essential to Braves

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- There is no surefire, guaranteed path to success for the Atlanta Braves this season. But one sure way to make things easier is center fielder Nate McLouth bouncing back from a miserable 2010 and again becoming the player he once was.

McLouth last summer suffered a concussion, played in only 85 games and batted a career-worst .190 with a .298 on-base percentage. Both were career lows.

"I'm thankful for a clean start," McLouth says. "I'm ready to get this season kicked off and move on. Last season was tough, but the minute I stepped out of the clubhouse, I left it behind.

"I actually backed off of hitting a little this winter because you get so many swings down here. I backed off what I've done in the past."

The hope, he said, is less is more. No more paralysis by analysis. Even in baseball, sometimes there is such a thing as overpreparing.

"I'm definitely guilty of that," says McLouth, whom the Braves project as their center fielder and No. 2 hitter (behind Martin Prado). "When I don't feel right, I tend to overdo it. Last year, I wasn't feeling right and I almost paralyzed myself I was working so much."

McLouth, whom the Braves acquired from Pittsburgh in June, 2009, for pitcher Charlie Morton and two minor leaguers, suffered the concussion last June 9 (he was hitting .176 with a .295 on-base percentage at the time) and didn't return until July 21.

"The main thing I noticed was, I wasn't ever close to full strength after that in terms of endurance and body strength. For a month or two after, I couldn't lift of work out. I felt slow.

"It was nice to be able to work out this offseason."

There's no guarantee that McLouth will be able to return to his 2008 form, when he hit .276 with a .356 OBP and led the NL with 46 doubles, but if he can get close, the Braves will take it.

"I think we're all optimistic that Nate's too good a player, and has been over the course of time, to think what we saw last year is what should be expected," Atlanta general manager Frank Wren says. "He's another guy where we've seen him over the course of the winter, and his demeanor and his presence ... everything's changed from a year ago."

Sunblock Day? There already have been more nice days in the first week in Florida than all of last spring combined. Sunny and mid-70s. Pass the sunblock.

Likes: Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. on Hall of Famer Stan Musial and what he means to St. Louis: "To think of what he has meant to the Cardinals, not only during his playing days, but subsequent to when he played. And every time he comes on the field and makes an appearance, the place reveres him and lets him know that." ... The Sweet Potato-Encrusted Yellowtail and the Pumpkin Coconut Whatever at the delicious Leftovers Café in Jupiter, Fla. The fish was excellent, and with a name like that, you had to order the dessert. Think pumpkin pie without the crust. ... The ribs and bread pudding at Lee Roy Selmon's Barbecue in Tampa. Mmm, mmm, mmm. ... Really liked True Grit. The girl, Hailee Steinfeld, was incredible, especially given all of the difficult dialog she had to deliver. ... Dog show in Lakeland, Fla. Over 4,000 dogs here. Not going, just like hearing it. My dog, Slugger, would be so proud.

Dislikes: Oh, Miguel Cabrera. ...

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"May the good Lord shine a light on you
"Make every song you sing your favorite tune
"May the good Lord shine a light on you
"Warm like the evening sun"

-- Rolling Stones, Shine a Light

Posted on: January 5, 2011 9:25 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2011 9:26 pm
 

Love Letters: The post-Christmas edition

In a perfect world, one would not begin the New Year with an apology. But here goes: I've made plenty of jokes in the past about the Rally Monkey. I had never written about New York Gov. David Paterson until zinging him in my Christmas column for improperly accepting Yankees World Series tickets. Problem was, never even thinking about the fact that Paterson is African-American, I trotted out another Rally Monkey joke. Plus, I referred to him "Peterson" instead of "Paterson." A couple of readers rightly jumped on me, and all I can say is, I apologize for the typo in his name, and especially for the unintended tasteless joke. Didn't mean it that way, but that's how it turned out, and, ugh. My bad, and my regrets. On with this week's letters. ...

FROM: Rick B.
Re: Christmas tidings for those naughty and nice around MLB

As an ex-New Yorker, I don't think Gov. Paterson has served the state well. However, the rally monkey to me came across as racist. I don't know what you meant, but it's what and how it was said.

See above. That may be the last Rally Monkey joke for me.

FROM: Eric B.

A. NY Governor is David Paterson, not Peterson. B. James Brown lyric is, "Sometimes I feel so nice, I want to jump back, and kiss myself." You conflated I feel good with the true lyric and jump up instead of back. Don't channel the Godfather unless you can feel it.

I thought I was feeling it. Turns out, maybe I really didn't know what I was feeling that day.

FROM: Andrew S.

Hope your Christmas was a joyous one for you and yours, Scott. Always enjoy reading the musings from one of baseball's tireless columnists! My Christmas wish for the O's: Don't mortgage the farm system, but somehow find a way to make a splash still this offseason if for no other reason than to show the big boys in the AL East the Birdies are coming back to roost.

I could feel the nostalgia and frustration in Orioles owner Peter Angelos' statement Wednesday congratulating former O Robbie Alomar for election to baseball's Hall of Fame.

FROM: Kurt K.

Hi Scott,

First off, a Merry Christmas to you and your family! I normally don't respond to articles, but I wanted to let you know that your "Christmas tidings for those naughty and nice around MLB" article was great! It was very well written and I really like you stressing the importance of class and sportsmanship. Those are some of what is great about the game of baseball. These things seem lost in the other pro sports. Anyway, keep up the good work. Merry Christmas from Switzerland, Kurt.

If it's up to me, the behavior of Detroit's Armando Galarraga and umpire Jim Joyce will be remembered for a long, long time. The way each man handled such an unfortunate situation was the highlight of the 2010 season.

FROM: Rick
Re: If playoffs ain't broke, don't fix 'em with expansion

It is either playoff expansion or a salary cap. I guess Bud Selig sees this as an alternative because he knows the league will never have a salary cap, at least not under him, and it allows small-market teams to make the playoffs.

It's too easy, though, isn't it? And this solution only patches a surface wound. No depth there.

FROM: Terry F.

Baseball has a tight postseason? How do you figure? Baseball teams playing in the World Series have more off days than they have scheduled game days in October. How is that a tight schedule? I would characterize it as a laid-back schedule. Teams play when they get around to it. Personally, I believe that baseball's current post-season is a total disaster.

I was writing in relative terms, Terry. It had been tight up until a couple of years ago, and comparatively speaking, it's far more tight than, say, the NBA. But that was part of the point of the column, too: It needs to be tightened even more, and it needs to REMAIN tight.

FROM: Frank D.

As usual, terrific writing and a very good solution. However ... unlike you, Selig isn't competent, nor logical. He is the worst commissioner in the history of North American sports. This cretin has canceled a season, stood idle while steroids have ravaged the sport's credibility and records and has allowed for unprecedented spending without a real obstruction, tipping the balance in favor of a handful of teams. He has taken the All-Star Game, once a fun event, and turned it into a game where an exhibition determines home-field for the sport's crown jewel. He's a weak, incompetent joke.

Your punches are harder than anything I saw thrown in The Fighter last week.

FROM: Paul

The problem with baseball IS the Yankees & Red Sox. I was once a big-time baseball fan. Seeing other teams compete every year made the game fun and varied, but over the last 15 years, seeing the Yanks & Sox every post season truly made the game boring. Is their rivalry and press coverage any different than say, Brangelina? Or Kate Gosselin? Lindsey Lohan? Over-saturation kills everything.

Baseball seems to think that shoving those two teams down our throat is good for the game. It's not. I'm a football fan first now, primarily because in any given year, with some good draft choices, a team can compete for a playoff spot and be contenders for a long time. Sadly, no matter how well the Indians, Padres, Royals or Pirates draft, their window to compete is short and their rebuild to contender status long. Baseball = boredom these days. Give me the NFL.

I think the next poll we do should be asking how many folks think the Yankees and Red Sox need to check themselves into rehab, prefarably in an adjoining room to Lohan.

FROM:
Christopher from Toronto

Scott,

Love the piece and I think you're bang on. Leave things the way they are. If one game could tell us something, the season would be 82 games.

I'll have you know that I think "bang on" is a very underrated term that I wish were used far more often. "Wanker", too.

FROM: Nathan P.

Scott,

Money will ruin the baseball regular season one day. How do you think guys get paid $150 million contracts over five years? It's all about advertising. The NBA ruined its regular season; the season should be shortened to 40 games. The NFL will expand to 18 games, which is way too long. Just accept it. It's too bad that's the way it is: a pennant used to mean something. Now most people don't know what a pennant is.

I think I had one hanging on my bedroom wall once upon a time. ...

FROM: CHISOX1958

I am a huge fan of baseball. But, as far as expanding the playoffs go, let's get real. This isn't hockey or basketball, where every lame team gets in.

Or, perhaps, the NFL, where the Seahawks not only qualify, but host a playoff game with a 7-9 record? Interesting how there is very little outrage about that.

FROM: Frank L.
Re.: Cleveland loses a true, rare legend in Feller
http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/story/
14447735/cleveland-loses-a-true-rar
e-legend-in-feller

Your article was right on after the initial sentence -- but the opening was insulting. To mention a hero in the truest sense of the word [Bob Feller] with a draft dodger [John Wayne] is very distasteful. Marion Morrison had no place in that article. You have really ruined my day and possibly many other vets of WWII.

(Signed)
A Feller fan since 1937

Say what you want about Marion Morrison. But where Wayne is concerned, I was simply comparing Feller to some of the same values people in general associate with the characters Wayne played. That part of it holds up.

FROM: Jerry K.

As a lifelong Indians fan whose first game in 1946 at age 8 was pitched by Bob Feller, I say you summed it up perfectly. Especially as to CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee, who are not bad guys but are corrupted by the owners' greed.

Alex, I'll take "Corruption for $100 million plus, please". ...

Posted on: December 8, 2010 8:53 pm
 

Angels hold steady as Crawford favorites

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Whether it was a misdirection ploy by the Angels or an agent taking a liberty or two to help jack up the market, put those Cliff Lee/Angels rumors on the back burner.

The Angels, multiple sources said on Wednesday, are continuing to plunge into these winter meetings with speedy outfielder Carl Crawford as their clear No. 1 priority.

And just for good measure, attempting to make sure they fix a declining offense somehow, they met with the agent for third baseman Adrian Beltre on Wednesday.

Yes, they did reach out to Lee's agent, Darek Braunecker, on Tuesday and are keeping in touch. But a source with knowledge of those talks called them "benign." No, he said, Crawford remains the top target.

Many in the industry -- as well as sources close to the outfielder -- are handicapping the Angels as the clear favorites to land Crawford, though Jayson Werth's seven-year, $126 million deal with Washington may slow things down until (if?) the Yankees, Red Sox or another big market team enters the bidding.

And here's where things get murky, much murkier than the Lee talks. With Crawford, it's much more of a moving parts-type of market.

The Yankees are expected to veer toward Crawford if they fail to sign Lee. Some industry sources believe they may take a run at both Lee and Crawford though, even for the Yankees, that seems awfully pricey. General manager Brian Cashman had dinner with Crawford and his representatives here on Tuesday night.

The Red Sox were believed to want either Werth or Crawford initially, but having acquired Adrian Gonzalez from San Diego and with parameters surely in place for a monster extension there, it's difficult to see the Red Sox signing up for two contracts of at least seven years in length in one winter.

The Tigers need a left-fielder, have money to spend and showed initial interest in Crawford but seem to have disappeared in these talks in recent days.

One wild-card who recently met with Crawford's representatives, according to sources, is the Rangers. While they're clearly focused on Lee, Crawford could represent a stunning backup plan if Lee signs with the Yankees. The Rangers also could be the Angels' worst nightmare: If they do lose Lee and go strong after the Houston native, that might be too tempting for Crawford to ignore.

People close to Crawford, a Houston native, say he loves the West Coast and would be happy in Anaheim.

Certainly, this is setting up with the Angels as the clubhouse favorites, so to speak.

But it's also clear that the road could curve ahead.

Posted on: December 7, 2010 3:53 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2010 4:42 pm
 

Crain, others looking for Benoit deal

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Everyone is trolling the lobby for pitchers, and this side of Cliff Lee, what most teams want is bullpen help.

So why, then, has only one reliever signed with a new team on the free agent market so far?

Look no further than Detroit, where the Tigers signed free agent set-up man Joaquin Benoit to a three-year, $16.5 million deal earlier this winter.

The Benoit signing has put visions of sugar plums (and multi-millions) into the heads of middle relievers throughout the game.

And not all executives are ready to concede that type of contract to guys who will pitch the sixth, seventh or eighth innings for them.

"No way in hell am I going to pay a guy like that $5 million a year," one NL general manager said.

Among the dozens of relievers still on the market is Jesse Crain, who pitched very well out of the Minnesota bullpen for the past several seasons -- and sources say he's among a handful of relievers right now is targeting a contract similar to the one Benoit got from Detroit.

Aside from Benoit, only two relievers have signed so far this winter: Closer Mariano Rivera re-signed with the Yankees for two years and $30 million, and middle man Jose Contreras re-signed with Philadelphia for two years and $5.5 million.

Posted on: December 3, 2010 2:10 pm
 

Love Letters: Readers on broadcasters

Few people get into the hearts of baseball fans the way broadcasters do. I wrote a Thanksgiving column about this, and primarily about the passing of legends Dave Niehaus (Seattle), Harry Kalas (Philadelphia) and Ernie Harwell (Detroit), and about the heart scare with Bob Uecker (Milwaukee), and the reaction follows.

Before we get to that, though, Cubs play-by-play man Pat Hughes, as a labor of love, has spent his past five offseasons producing CD audio tributes to several legendary broadcasters. The latest CD features Niehaus. Others available feature Uecker, Kalas, Marty Brennaman, Jack Buck, Harry Caray, Bob Prince and Red Barber. They're great items, and if you're interested, you can get more information here.

And now, on the sad day that we learned of Ron Santo's passing, here are a few readers telling their own tales following Giving thanks for the great voices in baseball. ...

FROM: Jeremy D.

Scott,

Great article, especially this time not only for the giving of thanks, but [for writing this while next season] is still a ways away. I am 33 and have been a Phillies fan for most of those years. Harry, as we call him around here in south-central PA, still holds the most memorable call in my many years as an avid sports fan: Mike Schmidt's 500th home run. When he passed away last spring, I, as many others were, was devastated. It was like losing a close, long-time friend. I have spent more time listening to Harry than I've spent listening to many of the friends and relatives I know personally. I still love to hear Vin Scully call a game, as well as Jon Miller on the radio, and Marty Brenneman. Some of the newer guys have promise, but Scully's voice flat-out IS summer. Thanks again for the pleasant cold-November-day read.

One more great thing about these broadcasters that come into our lives: Unlike certain relatives, they don't show up uninvited for the holidays!

FROM:
Jim W.

Thank you for that great story on the voices of summer. I moved to Seattle in 1993 and I will always remember Edgar's double and Griffey scoring from first to beat the Yankees in the 1995 Divisional Series. It was the year after the strike, and Dave's call is the reason I love baseball again.

The great ones can do that for us, can't they?

FROM: Rob

Great article! XM radio is the best thing to happen to baseball and the MLB app is great with the ability to hear both radio feeds.

Love XM. What a perk it is to be able to sit on my back patio on a Saturday in the summer, Cheez-Its within reach, clicking around the satellite radio dial listening to broadcasts from each city.

FROM:
Keith B.

I think you are right on with your column about the great baseball announcers. I became a big fan in the summer of 1962 listening to Harry Caray, Vin Scully and Ernie Harwell. I lived in Rapid City, SD. After dark I could pick up the various stations that carried MLB games. Sometimes it was not very clear but I could hear enough to know what was going on. My great grandfather & I would listen to Vin Scully on KFI out of Los Angeles. Happy Thanksgiving.

South Dakota, Michigan (where I'm from) ... one great thing about the Midwest is the flatlands allow strong radio signals to carry unimpeded for hundreds of miles. I could listen to the Tigers, Reds, Indians, White Sox, Cubs. ...

FROM:
Dan L.

Dear Scott,

As a fellow broadcaster and Michigander, I was blessed as well to grow up listening to the National Treasure that was Ernie Harwell. I was lucky enough to do a 20-minute interview with him on my radio show a couple years ago and felt like I had lived some of the moments that Ernie described to me from an era that I was not even alive during. He just helped make you feel part of something special, and through the sharing of his experiences throughout his amazing career, I kept thinking to myself just how lucky we are to have had Ernie be a part of our lives and us a part of his. I think CBS is very lucky to have you writing for them and I would love to stay in touch and have you on my show in the future. Keep up the great work!

Very kind. Thanks.

Posted on: November 23, 2010 5:34 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2010 11:03 am
 

Tigers make smart first strike in market

Victor Martinez may not instantly catapult the Detroit Tigers onto the AL Central throne, and sometimes when he's behind the plate, the basepaths do tend to become like the autobahn for opposing runners.

That said, if the report out of Venezuela is true and Martinez is about to re-join his old division, only this time a couple of hundred miles north of Cleveland up in Detroit, the Tigers already are off to a roaring start this winter.

The Tigers had no public comment Tuesday on the report -- from ESPNdeportes' Ignacio Serrano -- of Martinez being poised to sign a four-year, $50 million deal, pending a physical exam. But neither did they shoot it down.

The key here is this: The Tigers mostly would deploy Martinez as their designated hitter (Alex Avila is projected as the everyday catcher). And together with Miguel Cabrera, who finished second in the AL MVP voting announced Tuesday, Detroit would have a couple of serious bruisers in the middle of the lineup.

For the Red Sox in 2010, Martinez batted .302 with a .351 on-base percentage, a .493 slugging percentage, 20 homers and 79 RBIs. In their emphasis on run prevention, Martinez never was going to carry value beyond a certain point behind the plate for the Red Sox. Plus, he'll be 32 next opening day.

In Detroit, you can argue that $12.5 million for a designated hitter, at those offensive numbers, is a pretty steep price to pay.

You also can argue that in a weak free agent market with few difference-makers available, the Tigers made a savvy quick, preventative first-strike. Teams with money to spend this winter out-supply the free agent market. Some will be left standing with nothing at the end.

Of the most desireable free agent position players available -- a list that also includes Adam Dunn, Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth -- Martinez by far is the best fit in Detroit. Not only can he DH and catch, he also can play first base if Cabrera needs a day off or is injured. And, he's a switch-hitter, giving manager Jim Leyland more versatility in his lineup.

Even while trading Curtis Granderson a year ago as general manager Dave Dombrowski re-arranged the furniture, the Tigers were eagerly looking ahead to the winter of 2010-2011 as a time when they'd have money to spend. Now, they've already signed set-up man Joaquin Benoit from Tampa Bay and, apparently, agreed to terms with Martinez.

The Tigers know Martinez well from some six seasons of competing against him in the AL Central. He knows the division well. It's a move that makes sense for both sides.

 

Posted on: September 29, 2010 10:51 pm
 

Kirk Gibson, from TV to Arizona manager

Sometime over the next several days, new Arizona general manager Kevin Towers is expected to remove the "interim" tag on manager Kirk Gibson's title. The Diamondbacks, according to sources, are on the verge of negotiating a two-year contract with Gibson and will name him as the full-time skipper.

For this, Gibson can thank ... former Detroit teammate Alan Trammell?

In a small way, yes.

Gibson was working as a television broadcaster when the Tigers named Trammell manager before the 2003 season. It was Trammell who recruited Gibson into coaching.

Aside from a longtime close friendship, what did Trammell see that he thought would make Gibson a successful coach?

"I've known him since I first got into pro ball," said Trammell, now the Cubs' bench coach. "Intensity. I've never met anybody quite like him. He has a football mentality that he's able to channel into baseball."

Gibson, who was an All-American flanker at Michigan State, was drafted 12th overall by the Tigers in 1978. Trammell was drafted by the Tigers two years earlier, and the two first were teammates in Detroit in 1979.

"Bo Jackson was quite good," Trammell says, recalling other notable football players on the baseball diamond. "And Deion Sanders. Kirk made the decision to go away from football completely, but he kept that mentality. Everything was a challenge to him.

"Coming into our situation [in Detroit in '03], we all were somewhat new. I knew we needed to have some energy. The team needed a lot of work. And I wanted coaches who would work."

The Cubs were in Phoenix to play the Diamondbacks just before the All-Star break, right after Gibson was named as the interim manager to replace the fired A.J. Hinch, and Trammell has spoken with his buddy only a couple of times since. Each has his hands full with his own team.

Gibson spent three seasons as Trammell's bench coach in Detroit. The staff was let go following the 2005 season.

Trammell joined the Cubs as Lou Piniella's bench coach in 2007. The same year, Gibson signed on with Arizona as Bob Melvin's bench coach.

What kind of manager does Trammell think Gibson will be if he sticks around longer than as just the interim guy?

"I think he'd be more than fine," Trammell says. "If he gets an opportunity to implement what he wants, and if people are willing to listen to him and pay the price. And by pay the price, I mean doing things for the team.

"That's the beauty of Gibby. You talk to him about his success as a player, he doesn't want any part of it. It's the team. That goes back to how we were all brought up by Sparky Anderson.

"I'm pulling for him. I hope he gets the opportunity."

If he does, there is lots of speculation that Trammell will wind up on his staff in Arizona after being bypassed for Mike Quade to manage the Cubs after Piniella's sudden departure this summer. Trammell says he has seen the speculation but is not thinking about 2011 right now, other than knowing that whatever he does, he wants to keep wearing the big-league uniform.

Likes: Good for Cito Gaston as the Blue Jays honored him Wednesday night in Toronto. What a class act. Very nice touch that so many of his former players -- Joe Carter, Pat Hentgen, George Bell and others -- returned for the festivities.

Dislikes: Goodbye Gene Orza, and good riddance. As Don Fehr's right-hand man and attack dog for the players' union, the arrogant Orza, who is stepping down as chief operating officer, mostly just muddied the waters wherever he went. His behavior during the Steroid Era was reprehensible, claiming in 2004 that steroids "are no worse than cigarettes."

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"I was pourin’ out my troubles
"To a stranger in the bar
"About the problems and the pressures
"On a country music star
"Half braggin’, half complainin’
"About the money and the fame
"And just how lonely life can be
"When you’ve made yourself a name
"I said, Would you like a drink?
"He said, Thanks, I’ll have a double
"I’ve worked up a powerful thirst
"Just listening to all your troubles
"And while he makes that drink
"I’ll smoke one if you got ‘em
"It might be lonely at the top,
"But it's a bitch at the bottom"

-- Jamey Johnson, Lonely at the Top

 

Posted on: August 24, 2010 11:14 pm
 

Olde English D suits Damon well

SAN FRANCISCO -- Just when you think they're all mercenaries who only care about the next whopping contract, along comes Johnny Damon thumbing his nose at Boston.

We already knew Damon to be an exciting, if aging, ballplayer. We already knew him to be one of the game's extraordinarily nice guys.

Now we know he's not a phony.

Nothing against the Red Sox, who are doing a marvelous job of hanging in there despite losing players to the disabled list so frequently this summer that Terry Francona has been reduced to playing guys who are unrecognizable even to their own mothers.

But Damon has been there, done that, and it did not end pleasantly.

Looking for work this spring, he and his agent, Scott Boras, suddenly did more for Detroit's image than the Renaissance Center ever did. Damon professed his love for the Red Wings and all things Detroit. Boras rhapsodized about how much Damon always has loved Detroit.

It would have been sickening -- if it weren't true.

How do I know? Well, I couldn't resist. I sat down with Damon in Lakeland, Fla., this spring and administered a quiz covering all things Detroit and Michigan. Not only did he good-naturedly play along, he did quite well.

Anyway, seven months later, Damon told the Tigers he wouldn't accept a deal to Boston because Detroit is where he wants to be. He individually talked to all of his teammates first to make sure they still wanted him around. He said he hopes to play again in Detroit in 2011, and he said he knows that if manager Jim Leyland reduces his playing time down the stretch, it could cost him money on the free agent market this winter.

Didn't matter. Damon didn't want to change his stripes. (And his chances of stepping into a pennant race in Boston wasn't exactly guaranteed, either).

Next time you become disenchanted with the modern athlete for whatever reason, remember Damon. Maybe you hated him when he was with Boston, maybe you hated him when he was with the Yankees. Perhaps you never liked him with long hair, or maybe you were angry when he chopped his locks.

Whatever. Bottom line is, Damon showed this week he is a man of principle.

Likes: Ah, San Francisco. Gorgeous summer day today. Hot. It actually reached 100. And that brought the crazies out (even more than usual). Walking between the Rasputin music store and Border's books, I passed a raggedy-looking man on the street grinning and holding up a homemade sign fashioned from a cardboard box reading, "Ass watching is a sport." When I walked back 30 minutes later, he was still at his post proudly displaying his sign. Meantime, John Fay, Reds beat man for the Cincinnati Enquirer, saw two older men walking down the street completely naked protesting, as Fay said, something. ... If the White Sox do get Manny Ramirez on waivers, he and Ozzie Guillen will be quite a combo. And Guillen always thought Frank Thomas was a handful. ... Great run along the Embarcadero on Tuesday morning down to AT&T Park. Love the atmosphere around empty ballparks early in the day before they come to life at night.

Dislikes: Still haven't caught up to the final three Friday Night Lights episodes from this summer. Looking forward to carving out some time to see them. ... School starting again. I know lots of parents eagerly anticipate the kids going back. Not me. I like having mine around.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"When that last guitar's been packed away
"You know that I still want to play
"So just make sure you got it all set to go
"Before you come for my piano
"But the band's on the bus
"And they're waiting to go
"We've got to drive all night and do a show in Chicago
"or Detroit, I don't know
"We do so many shows in a row
"And these towns all look the same
"We just pass the time in our hotel rooms
"And wander 'round backstage
"Till those lights come up and we hear that crowd
"And we remember why we came"

-- Jackson Brown, The Load Out

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com